High School Sports

Notebook: High school stars left hurting

Friday the 13th has nothing on Friday the 28th when it comes to bad luck. It was downright scary how many big-name high school football players were sidelined last Friday (Aug. 28).

Two of the best seniors in the state — Pulaski County quarterback Chris Muse and Frankfort running back Quan Weaver — suffered season-ending knee injuries. Trinity quarterback Brad Kragthorpe was in a walking boot this week after hurting his foot in a loss to Indianapolis Lawrence North. Bryan Station receiver Chaz Mitchell had his jaw broken in two places against Shelby County and is out at least five weeks. Rockets' receiver Ben Axline suffered a concussion that will bench him at least a week.

For Pulaski County Coach Johnny Hines, Muse's torn anterior cruciate ligament was the biggest hit in what has already been a nightmarish season. "We've had a broken foot, a broken finger, a concussion and two broken hands," Hines said. "Now this with Chris. We're a little stunned." Muse, who had more than 3,000 yards passing and running last year, was making a cut against Somerset and was untouched when his knee popped.

"We're brokenhearted, of course," Hines said. "Chris is a special kind of player.

"We really hurt for him. He's devastated that he won't be playing for us anymore."

Weaver, who ran for 2,092 yards and had 24 touchdowns last year, was injured early in Frankfort's season opener against Paris. Preliminary tests indicated a torn ACL. Panthers Coach Craig Foley was going to get a second opinion, but he's braced for the worst. "Obviously, it's pretty deflating to lose a Division I kid (Weaver has committed to Louisville). We were hoping to make a (playoff) run this year."

Foley never had a player suffer an ACL injury in his first 13 years of coaching. "Now it looks like I've had two in the last month," he said, referring to Weaver and Dwight Tillman, Frankfort's top receiver who hurt his knee in practice. "I must've been bad this off season," Foley said with a pained laugh.

■ Rees MacShara carried 13 times for a school-record 344 yards and five TDs to lead Boyle County past Rockcastle County 42-22 in the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic. MacShara had scoring runs of 81, 60, 59, 57 and 41 yards.

■ Sheldon Clark beat Breathitt County 6-0 thanks to a ball-control offense and a solid defense. The Cards limited Breathitt County star Channing Fugate to two yards on five carries. (Fugate also had four receptions for 29 yards). Sheldon Clark Coach Shawn Hager said the key was keeping the ball out of the Bobcats' hands. Breathitt County ran only 16 plays in the first half. QB Austin Stepp had a six-yard run for the Cards in the first quarter. "If ever we had a chance to do anything, this is the year because we have a really good defense," Hager said. Channing Smith and Brad Stafford anchor the ends, and Dustin Burchett and Corey Crum clog the middle at tackle. Hager toughened up his early schedule this year, adding Breathitt County, Johnson Central and Prestonsburg, trying to get his team ready for district rival Belfry and the playoffs. "I told our players they had to get bigger and stronger in the off-season or we were going to take a lumpin'," Hager said.

■ Anderson County's Dustin Combs was MVP in two bowls in two weeks for leading the Bearcats to wins over Garrard County and Meade County. His two-game totals: 23 carries for 172 yards and five TDs; six catches for 86 yards and two TDs, and a school record 97-yard kickoff return for a TD that sealed the win over Meade County.

■ Playing without star Tyrell Willis, Calloway County lost to Caldwell County and Murray by a combined score of 83-7. Lakers Coach Josh McKeel said Willis hasn't been sick or injured but wouldn't elaborate except to say the 6-3, 235-pound senior has been "unavailable." Willis will play Friday against Trigg County. "Hopefully he'll provide a boost," McKeel said.

■ Bourbon County, which lost to Estill County 43-14 last year, beat the Engineers 41-6 last week. The Colonels ran for 483 yards and didn't throw a pass. Taylor Barnes led the way, rushing for 253 yards and three TDs.

■ Johnson Central's J.J. Jude rushed 23 times for 250 yards and two TDs in a loss to Horn Lake (Miss.).

■ Jay Cobb wants to clarify why he resigned as Somerset football coach two weeks before the season kicked off. "In a nutshell, the administration and I had a disagreement over what was needed to provide a safe environment for our players," Cobb said via e-mail. He hoped his resignation would spur action. It seemed to have worked. Cobb said a certified trainer was at practice the day he resigned, and an ice machine was purchased. Cobb said he was glad that assistant Rob Lucas was named interim coach. Cobb hopes to be back in coaching next season.

■ Simon Kenton star Miles Simpson, nursing a sore ankle, had only seven carries for 31 yards, but the Pioneers won their opener 29-8 over Newport Central Catholic.

■ Travis Jones ran back a punt and a kickoff for TDs, and he added a TD run from scrimmage to lead Russell past Greenup County 37-0.

■ Defending Class A champ Beechwood had its worst loss in more than a decade when Dixie Heights beat the Tigers 49-7. Ryan Wilson threw for 165 yards and two TDs, ran for 99 yards, and kicked a 41-yard field goal.

■ Highlands star Austin Collinsworth ran for 124 yards and four TDs against Ryle.

■ Defending 2A state champ Fort Campbell is beating up on Tennessee competition. After crushing Christian Presbyterian of Nashville in their opener, the Falcons rolled up a 50-0 halftime lead on the way to a 57-0 rout of Kenwood last week. Fort Campbell visits Nashville Pearl Cohn on Friday.

■ Trent Steelman, who helped Bowling Green reach three consecutive state finals (2005-07), will start at quarterback for Army in its opener at Eastern Michigan Saturday.

■ Craig Clayton, who was a longtime coach at Hopkinsville before leaving for Franklin (Tenn.) two years ago, returned to town last week and guided Franklin to a 31-14 win over Christian County in the Jerry Claiborne Bowl.

■ Correction on the schedule for this year's state football championships at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green:

Dec. 4 — Class 4A finals, 11 a.m. (CST), 2A finals, 3 p.m.; 5A finals, 7 p.m.

Dec. 5 — 3A finals, 11 a.m.; 1A finals, 3 p.m.; 6A finals, 7 p.m.

■ South Laurel graduate Zack Marcum was scheduled to start at receiver for Troy in its opener against Bowling Green State Thursday night. Marcum, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior, had 14 catches for 135 yards last year.

■ Three West Jessamine baseball players have made college choices. Catcher Louie Helmburg committed to Marshall. Pitcher Noah Smallwood and shortstop Leronn "Bud" Morton are headed to Morehead State.

■ Former Lafayette and UK baseball player Michael Bertram was the Eastern League's player of the week. He batted .346 (9-for-26) in six games, including two homers, two triples, two doubles, 11 RBI and eight runs for the Erie SeaWolves (Pa.), the Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.

■ Jim Creech, a standout pitcher for Wolfe County in the early 1980s, is the Wolves' new baseball coach. His son Dylan starred as an eighth-grader for Wolfe County last spring.

■ West Jessamine's boys' golf team, which finished sixth in the state tournament last fall, bears watching again. The young Colts were runners-up to Scott County in last weekend's Clark County Cardinal Classic at Kearney Hill. West Jessamine's lineup includes eighth-grader Fred Allen Meyer, seventh-grader Conner Haas, freshman Travis Rose, juniors Nate Johnson and Jordan Wood, and senior Michael Kyles.

■ Lafayette graduate Michael Asay is on the golf team at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C. The Warriors placed fourth in the junior-college national tournament last year.

■ Gene Kirk, who won 424 games in 27 years as boys' basketball coach at Woodford County, is returning to lead the Yellowjackets. Kirk retired from coaching at Woodford County after the 1998-99 season. After sitting out a year, he took over at Sayre and led the Spartans for eight years before retiring with a career record of 549-393. "I thought I was finished, done and through," Kirk said. But when Brad Mefford resigned as Woodford County's coach a few weeks before school started, the Jackets asked Kirk, 61, to step in. "I'm crazier than a loon, so I said yes," Kirk said with a laugh. He still coaches the golf team at Sayre, but will be free to coach hoops this winter. "I hope it's a fun experience, and that I can help the program," Kirk said.

■ Nick Hudson, an All-City basketball player at Dunbar last season, is playing college hoops at Hiawasee (Tenn.).

■ Lexington Christian senior Will Mullett, who won the Class A title in the 3,200-meter state track meet last spring, finished third in St. Xavier's Tiger Run in Louisville last weekend.

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